Today, in a government caucus news release, Solicitor General Kash Heed spanked provincial New Democrat John Horgan's support for photo radar. That system was scrapped by the Campbell administration following the 2001 election over the objections of police chiefs. So does that mean the solicitor general, West Vancouver's former chief constable, disagrees with the chiefs' past position on speed cameras? Well, that seemed to be a question Mr. Heed just wasn't willing to answer. The following is a complete copy of that news release.
BC Liberal Government Caucus
For Immediate Release
March 10, 2010
NDP WANTS TO RESURRECT FAILED PHOTO RADAR PLAN
VICTORIA - The NDP's plan to bring back photo radar means less police on the streets and a weakening of public safety, says Solicitor General Kash Heed.
"The NDP's photo radar policy of the 1990's was a total failure. It was a cash grab that took 80 police officers out of their cars and sat them in the front seat of photo radar vans rather than proactively targeting problem drivers," says Heed. "Only the NDP would want to resurrect a plan to use police as tax collectors rather than having them on the street fighting crime and targeting problem drivers."
Speaking on CFAX today, NDP MLA John Horgan conceded British Columbians saw photo radar - introduced by the NDP - as a tax grab, but was unrepentant about bringing it back. "I'm a supporter of photo radar. I have been since it was introduced," he said.
The BC Liberals eliminated the photo radar program and have put increased resources into road safety; measures the NDP has consistently opposed and voted against.
* We have hired 1,100 new police officers since 2001.
* We have redeployed officers to the Integrated Road Safety Unit. These are wheels on the ground with trained officers dedicated to focus exclusively on traffic-related road safety issues. They operate in major municipal regions in BC. In smaller centres, the RCMP has added members to detachments and funds overtime to carry out road safety programs.
And the strategy is working. There was a 15 per cent reduction in all police-reported motor vehicle fatalities in B.C. and a 12 per cent reduction in serious motor vehicle injuries in 2008 when compared to 2007.
"Road safety is a priority for this government and that is why we have allocated over $75 million a year to various initiatives such as the Integrated Road Safety Unit. We believe that intelligence led units, targeting problem roadways is a much more effective deterrent than a van sitting on the side of the road," says Heed. "Sadly, the NDP's only plan for public safety continues to be resurrecting one of their favourite cash grabs - photo radar."